"Increased investment in children and young people’s mental health services is urgently needed. In particular, the Government must ensure all of the promised £1.7 billion for children’s mental health is spent on children’s mental health services, and not diverted elsewhere."
- Improving and maintaining good mental health for communities is a key priority for councils. Poor mental health can affect any of us at any stage of our lives, including in childhood. Intervening early to help prevent issues from escalating can dramatically improve an individual’s life chances and save money in the longer term.
- It was pleasing to hear the Budget announce additional funding for the NHS to prioritise mental health services for children and young people, with more money for crisis care and schools-based support teams. Through their children, family and public health responsibilities, councils are also pulling out all the stops to give children and young people high quality mental health support, but worryingly, as a result of funding reductions, many councils are being forced to cut vital early intervention work which helps children avoid reaching crisis point.
- The government’s children’s services Early Intervention Grant has been reduced by almost £600 million since 2013 and is projected to decrease by almost £100 million more by 2020. Children’s services are facing a wider funding gap of £3 billion by 2025. This is not sustainable if we are serious about tacking mental health in young people. Councils’ public health budgets, which fund school nurses and public mental health services, have been reduced by £600 million from 2015/16 to 2019/20.
- Councils face a £7.8 billion overall shortfall by 2025. A range of services that contribute to the wider determinants of mental health are significantly underfunded, these include housing, leisure, green spaces, and culture. This makes it more difficult to promote mental wellness within communities.
- Increased investment in children and young people’s mental health services is urgently needed. In particular, the Government must ensure all of the promised £1.7 billion for children’s mental health is spent on children’s mental health services, and not diverted elsewhere. Where it has been spent on other services, the Government should make up the shortfall. This will be in line with the implementation of Future in Mind and the reforms stated in the Government’s green paper Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision.
- Councils and schools need to be given funding to offer independent mental health counselling so children have access to support as and when they need it.
- The LGA’s Bright Futures campaign highlights the incredible early intervention and prevention work that councils across the country are doing to support our children and young people.
Download the full briefing
Mental health and wellbeing in schools, House of Commons, 4 December 2018